Richard Tisei could become the first openly gay nonincumbent Republican to be elected to Congress, giving a rare insight into what an out GOP politician believes on a wide range of issues.
Tisei could actually win the race in Massachusetts's sixth congressional district, an area the real estate agent previously represented as a state senator. His chances of success are good even in this loyally blue state, where as of late September, Tisei was leading his opponent, eight-term incumbent Democratic representative John Tierney, in a Boston Globe poll 37% to 31%.
Tisei is also out-raising Tierney eight-to-one thanks to national super PACs. And the Globe endorsed him earlier this month. Since Tisei lobbied to establish marriage equality in his state and has already said he's in favor of most LGBT rights laws, here's a look at a few of Tisei's stances on other issues, including jobs, reproductive rights, health care reform, taxes, and the environment.
- The Main Message: "Overall, I consider myself a 'live and let live Republican' -- the government should get out of your bedroom, off your back and out of your wallet." -- Tisei in The Hill, July 24
- Health Care: Tisei would vote to repeal the Democrats' health care reform bill, otherwise known as Obamacare. He also said that Gov. Mitt Romney's health care reform in Massachusetts during his term as governor was "basically right," adding, "the goal in our country should be to get everyone insured and the role of the federal government, rather than push a 'one size fits all' solution, should be to provide incentives for every state to innovate."
- Jobs: "Government does not create wealth or jobs in this country. Free enterprise and individual creativity are being stifled by government - even though they are the very engines of job creation in America. ... As a small business owner, I understand the challenges that job creators face each and every day. I will fight tirelessly to put Washington on a path to fewer regulatory burdens, lower debt, and overall conditions which promote job growth." -- Tisei on his campaign website
- Workplace Equality: Tisei has said he would have voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation signed by President Obama. It extends the statute of limitations on workplace gender discrimination cases.
- Reproductive Rights: Tisei says he would have voted against Sen. Roy Blunt's amendment, which allowed employers to decide whether to include contraception and some other health care services in insurance care. It would have, for example, stifled the federal government from funding Planned Parenthood. He also said he has "no problem" with Planned Parenthood receiving government funds. Tisei's campaign did run into trouble when his manager, Paul Moore, said that rape and abortions for rape victims were "issues that aren't really issues." After calls for an apology, mainly by groups affiliated with Tierney's campaign, Tisei countered by saying, "I'm pro-choice. I have a 25-year record on women's health that no one can argue with."
- Taxes: Tisei said he would support ending certain tax credits, like those for yachts and second homes. He also said he would preserve Bush-era tax cuts for America's wealthiest citizens. According to Reason magazine, Tisei has consistently been in favor of lowering tax rates. Tisei has said that he would oppose Rep. Paul Ryan's tax plan, and he has refused to sign a no-tax pledge authored by Grover Northquist of Americans for Tax Reform. He did, however, sign a similar pledge during an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 2010.
- Marijuana: Tisei supports medicinal marijuana, and he says he is open to legalizing marijuana completely.
-Israel and Iran: "Israel stands as a nearly solitary bastion of liberty and freedom in the Middle East. She's our closest ally and we have a special duty to ensure her continued survival. After traveling to Israel several years ago, I've seen firsthand how truly precarious is her mere existence. We have to remain clearly committed to Israel's defense and survival. In many respects, Israel finds herself besieged by neighbors who wish her ill, such as Iran. Despite repeated attempts by Administrations of both parties to engage Iranian moderates, the leaders of Iran continue to directly threaten Israel's existence. Iranian attempts to secure a nuclear weapon and develop a ballistic missile system capable of delivering such weapons must be prevented. Furthermore, we must make it completely clear to Iran that any attempt to destroy Israel would, in fact, be suicidal." -- Richard Tisei on his campaign website
- Education: "I'm the first member of my family to earn a college degree, and I fully understand the role of grants and loans as well as the need for affordable, but high-quality, educational opportunities to all of our citizens. As a state legislator, I supported school choice, home schooling, and the establishment of charter schools. I was also a strong advocate for merit pay for our best teachers. Giving parents more control and placing less of an emphasis on test results and more of an emphasis on actual learning in the classroom remain my priorities." -- Richard Tisei on his campaign website